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December 14th, 2009
Google Demonstrates Quantum Algorithm Promising Superfast Search
Quantum computing has long dangled the possibility of superfast, super-efficient processing, and now search giant Google has jumped on board that future. New Scientist reports that Google has spent the past three years developing a quantum algorithm that can automatically recognize and sort objects from still images or video.
To take an example cited by Google, a classical computer might need 500,000 peeks on average to find a ball hidden somewhere within a million drawers. But a quantum computer could find the ball by just looking into 1,000 drawers -- a nice little stunt known as Grover's algorithm.
Google has been using a quantum computing device created by D-Wave, a Canadian firm. But a lack of information about how D-Wave's chip works has led to outside skepticism regarding whether it does indeed count as a quantum computer.
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